Sara and Cesar

Down we go with them

A mother was walking the streets of Coro with her son and daughter a few days ago. The mother, Sara, watched in horror, as her son, César, fell down an uncovered manhole, into the sewer below.

In terror, she lunged into the sewer to fetch her son. Screams of panic followed, and then, silence. A few days later, their bodies were found inside the sewer, miles down the road.

This story has moved everyone who has read it. It says much about the current state of chaos that grips our country – no one has taken the blame, no one has resigned, and a little girl has lost her mother and brother.The story is a microcosm of the Venezuelan struggle – the individual – a schoolteacher, no less – following her noblest instincts, fighting to the death against the incompetence that attacks her.

Few would have learned of this, had it not been for social media. One particular activist, @Ravoix, says that many manholes are uncovered, but that authorities have warned him against taking pictures of them. That, in a nutshell, is the nature of our narco-military regime: good at repression, bad at keeping people safe. “Don’t cover manholes, cover up the information” should be their mantra.

The authorities, in the meantime, are trying to politicize the event. One chavista authority went so far as to hail Sara “our heroine,” as if desperately hoping that Sara’s corageous immolation rubs off on him.

Willy McKey over at Prodavinci has, in my view, a most lyrical take on this tragedy. The highlight:

“Who are the authors of the fact that an uncovered manhole stops being a sign of inefficiency and becomes a symptom? Did those responsible for that manhole becoming a drainage of fear and sadness somehow hope that it was a bottomless tunnel, like our grief, our rage, and our patience? And the only thing we can mutter to ourselves is that “a mother who threw herself into the sewer to rescue her son” has disappeared.”

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